July 23, 2013

Deltabeams – want to buy a copycat?

Picture:  Fake Deltabeams on their way to a building site – likely to be re-painted at the building site there with expensive fire-coating.
The goal to cut costs is sometimes strong, so strong that costs are cut by ignoring safety issues, or not to care somebody´s intellectual product rights.

In the recent case a large contractor bought steel beams from a smaller steel fabricator who realized that the fire-painting would cost a lot. In the standard, general HQ-beam structure the beams require fire-protective painting in order the building structure not to collapse during the first 2-3 hours of fire.  In order to save costs this steel fabricator decided to make the beams Deltabeam look-a-likes, as Deltabeams have a proven behavior under the situation of fire WITHOUT fire-protective coating.
OOPPSSS, what went wrong?
First of all, the steel fabricator naturally broke Peikko´s patents and got a nasty “warning letter” from Peikko´s lawyers. Why would Peikko put a lot of efforts on fire tests, and then give everybody the right make copies? A law suit will follow.

Secondly, the beam design was such that the steel fabricator needs to anyway fire-paint the beams – the project will be for sure a loss-making one for the company.
What is the learning from this incident?To do things right first time might cost less.

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